Across the books and in person.

Welcome! Since I write two English mystery series, I thought it would be fun to chat about that. And about England. Specifically, Derbyshire, since that is the county I know the best. If you have questions about my books, about mysteries or your own writing, or want to know something about England -- perhaps you're planning a visit -- I'd love to talk with you. Let's start chatting, shall we?

Derbyshire VIllage

Derbyshire VIllage

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Better Late than Never???

You'll be glad to know I'm living up to form.  My personality has not changed in the last...what -- day, week, lifetime?  I got the brilliant idea two days ago to add a chapter to the already corrected (and laughingly thought completed) ms for Torch Song.  I'm having such a good time setting up the upcoming book signing at Tutbury Castle that I thought about inserting a scene or two at a stately home or castle in all of my McLaren books.  As I said, brilliant.  Except that Torch Song was finished, waiting to be submitted to my publisher.  Well, Goofy, you still have the manuscript in your hot, sweaty hand.  Put the scene into it!  Duh.

So it took me a day to research stately homes and castles in Derbyshire.  I have a list and general description of some of them: Bolsover Castle, Elvaston, Caulke Abbey, Chatsworth, Wingfield, etc.  Even have some photos and more can be found on the Internet.  My criteria in choosing a place was pretty darn simple: one that has a gift shop so I can hopefully have a book signing there and afterward have the book sitting for sale there.  Some of these spots had no gift shop/tea room.  Chuck those out.  So I settled on Haddon Hall, probably tied with Bramall Hall for my favorite spot.  Okay.  Haddon Hall it is.  I read what I could find on it (took hours, let me tell you) and finally zeroed in on the two places I'd use for the scenes in the new chapter.  I created a new character for McLaren to talk to -- the reason for the new chapter.

I wrote twelve pages.  A nice little chapter with scenes in the banqueting hall and the upper courtyard.  I have a dramatic ending to the chapter.  I added a reference three chapters prior to this so McLaren would go to Haddon Hall to talk to the fellow.  I added several references after the new chapter, my established characters who are affected by the info responding to comments McLaren makes.  I think I have it all sewn up and thought out.

A lot is riding on this book.  If I can convince the gift shop manager, or whomever, to carry Torch Song in the shop, I think I could do the same for the other McLaren books -- use a stately home or castle in each book.  It's a splendid marketing tool and makes sense from a tourist stand point.  As I stated in the previous post, how cool is it to buy a novel in which parts of it occur in the place you just toured?  There's the big potential for the book to go worldwide, as the Castle has visitors from all over the globe.  And with the book sitting in the gift shop....  Well, you can see why this is the gauge for future books.  I hope Haddon Hall will also accept the book.  You know, I just thought of something: I'm opening myself up for a lot of hard work.  I'll have to go back to England a lot to do research in these castles and stately homes.  Each McLaren book needs one such place and you know what a stickler I am for accuracy in my books....  What a job....

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